At last week’s 2014 PBI Annual Dinner, which took place at Gotham Hall in New York, PBI was honored to present the 2014 John H. Pickering Award to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom*† for its outstanding innovation and commitment to pro bono and public service.
With the recent two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy garnering significant media attention, we are struck yet again as to why Skadden was such a deserving honoree. Skadden’s leadership was on full display during its extensive involvement in post-storm relief efforts, both for individuals affected by the storm and for nonprofit legal services providers. Among other things, Skadden attorneys staffed disaster relief legal clinics, helped clients with Neighborhood Recovery Fund FEMA applications, provided advice to callers through hotlines, drafted materials for hurricane victims and pro bono attorneys, and trained volunteer attorneys. Skadden also quickly became a central hub for the New York nonprofit community, allowing organizations displaced by significant flooding, such as the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York Legal Assistance Group, and Legal Aid, to set up temporary headquarters in the firm’s Times Square offices. As Hurricane Sandy hit shortly before the 2012 U.S. presidential election, Skadden’s generosity allowed many nonprofit organizations to continue providing critical election-related legal services.
As The PBEye previously reported, many other law firms, legal departments, and public interest organizations developed pro bono initiatives in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. There is always a great need for pro bono work following natural disasters, and there is still more work to be done as the recovery process continues.
Has your firm or legal department participated in pro bono projects related to Hurricane Sandy? If so, leave us a comment below and tell us about your experience.
* denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®
† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project